How to Choose a Nail Gun

how to choose nail gun

The nail gun is an indispensable power tool that every experienced DIYer and professional need. Those include people who work specifically in carpentry, building and decorating. A nail gun will save you precious time and make nailing a fun and easier task. We will show you how to choose a best nail gun, and it is not very hard, as you will see.

1. Power source

There are several types of nail guns, each appropriately suited for a specific task. They range in size, shape and power. They are called many different names, but they all fall under the category below.

  • Pneumatic (Air) (most popular)
  • Electric
  • Gas
  • Powder-actuated (most powerful)
  • Solenoid

Choosing the right nail gun depends on the kind of job you are undertaking. Most of the time, a cordless air nail gun is general purpose and will perform well almost anywhere. It is the most popular and commercially available nailer on the market. Air (also called pneumatic) nail guns deliver great accuracy, power and is a relatively light tool.

If you usually work in a fixed spot and you do not require a lot of movement, or need to nail tight spots, then consider a wired nail gun. They can last longer without the need for a gas canister replacement or battery recharge.

2. Choosing Nail Size

 Nail size and the application

A very important factor to consider. Choose a nailer that offers a wide range of nail sizes. One that allows for 5/8 to 2 in nails is good enough for any general purpose wood work.

3. Concern to Safety

A guide about how to choose a nail gun cannot come without a warning note. Nail guns are not toys! They can in fact be lethal weapons. If it is your first time using a nail gun, be sure you thoroughly read the manual that comes with your nail gun.

More than 45,000 people visit the emergency room in the USA every year because of nail guns. After all, they work based on the same principle as guns. Be careful.

>> Read More: How to Work Safely With Nail Gun

4. Other Factors You Should Care

  • Discharge Rate: Measured in PSI, the discharge rate is the pressure at which the nail leaves the nozzle. It needs to be high enough for your need. Choose a reasonable discharge rate, while keeping in mind that a nail gun price increases with the discharge rate, since it determines its power. A nailer with a discharge rate of at least 100 PSI is plenty for any kind of woodwork.
  • Fire rate: Not to be confused with the discharge rate above, the fire rate is the number of nail the nailer can spit per hour. The importance of this factor will depend on the task you are doing. If you are planning to nail quickly in a short period of time, then opt for a nailer with a higher fire rate.
  • Weight: Probably the most important factor when choosing a nail gun. The weight is eventually what determines the level of satisfaction and productivity you will derive from your power tool. One that is too light will demand more pressure from your part, and one too heavy will just be uncomfortable for extended usage. Choose a nailer that suits you, based on your build, arm strength and consequent usage time.
  • Nail gun brand: Here are some nail gun brands that you cannot go wrong with. Try Senco, Bosch, Ryobi and Ridgid. They make quality nail guns that are robust, powerful and will not die on you in the middle of a job.


If you still have a hammer in your hand and nails in your pocket, then it is time to transform your work into fun and productivity. Choosing the right nail gun need not be a difficult choice. If you follow the guideline above, you will have a great nail gun in no time.